AP answers your questions on the news, from Haiti’s slow recovery to Turkish-Israeli relations

Friday, July 2, 2010

Ask AP: Turkey and Israel, Haiti’s slow progress

An enormous amount of money has been sent to Haiti to help the country recover from its devastating earthquake. So why has so little changed in Haiti — from piles of rubble to tent cities — since right after the quake struck?

That’s one of the questions in this edition of “Ask AP,” a weekly Q&A column where AP journalists respond to readers’ questions about the news.

If you have your own news-related question that you’d like to see answered by an AP reporter or editor, send it to newsquestions@ap.org, with “Ask AP” in the subject line. And please include your full name and hometown so they can be published with your question.

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What’s the status of relations between Turkey and Israel?

Karzan Omer Ali

Slemani, Iraq

Relations between Turkey and Israel are at their lowest point since the two countries embarked on a policy of strategic cooperation after the first Israeli-Palestinian accord in 1993.

Israel’s good ties with Turkey eased the Jewish state’s isolation in a region overwhelmingly hostile to its presence. Ankara benefited from a strong defense alliance with Israel’s powerful, high-tech military and an influx of Israeli tourists.

But ties began fraying after Recep Tayyip Erdogan, leader of an Islamic-oriented party, became Turkey’s prime minister in 2003.

The situation quickly deteriorated after Israel’s winter 2008-09 war in the Gaza Strip. Erdogan criticized the steep Palestinian death toll, and memorably stormed off a stage with Israeli President Shimon Peres at the Davos World Economic Forum days after the fighting ended.

Relations suffered another blow after Israeli naval commandos raided a Turkish ship that sought to bust Israel’s blockade of Gaza in May, killing nine activists. Israel says its troops acted in self-defense. But after the raid, Turkey withdrew its ambassador to Israel, canceled joint military drills and began banning Israeli military aircraft from Turkish airspace.

Turkey is committed to binding contracts with Israeli companies, but further business is in doubt.

Josef Federman

AP News Editor


I have heard reports from people on the ground in Port-au-Prince that the rubble remains on the ground from the earthquake, tent cities have grown, residents are making housing inside dilapidated buildings, garbage is piled on the streets and the only buildings being built are of government interest.

My question: Where did the charity funds go to rebuild Haiti for the people of Haiti?

Angela Lewis,

Avon Park, Fla.

It’s true: Port-au-Prince looks much like it did in February, other than the fact it’s now raining every day. Of some 20 million cubic yards of rubble left by the disaster, less than 2 percent has been cleared. Serious reconstruction has not started.

Meanwhile, more people than ever are living under tarps and in tents: 1.6 million and counting. Some who didn’t lose their homes can no longer afford rent or are following foreign aid to the camps. And the tarps are falling apart.

It’s easy to look at all this and ask where the money went. The answer isn’t so simple. A lot of secondary crises that could have happened didn’t, or haven’t yet, like disease outbreaks, flooding catastrophes or famine — and some of that can be traced to the aid effort.

And the Haitian government, which was severely compromised in the quake and not so capable before, says the slow pace of reconstruction is important for preventing corruption and planning a sustainable city.

But it’s also reasonable to ask why more hasn’t improved. Presidential elections and hurricanes are both potentially on the way. Once the distraction of the World Cup is over, we may find out just how much frustration the grinding recovery has left behind.

Jonathan M. Katz

AP Correspondent

Port-au-Prince, Haiti

Can you tell me how many states have now passed the Uniform POA Act?

Tommy L. Jones

St. Louis

The Uniform Power of Attorney Act was created in 2006 to set uniform standards for people to choose a representative to act on their behalf in a legal or business matter if they become incapacitated.

When planning their estate, people often grant “durable” power of attorney to a friend or relative to represent their interests in the event they cannot do so themselves.

Many states have different standards for granting durable power of attorney, and that’s led to confusion and occasional mischief by people claiming to represent others when they are not authorized to do so. The Uniform Power of Attorney Act was designed so every state can have the same standards and prevent the misuse of the law.

It’s been approved by seven states so far — Maryland, Virginia, Wisconsin, Idaho, Nevada, Colorado and Maine, as well as the U.S. Virgin Islands.

Beth Fouhy

Associated Press Writer

New York

Have questions of your own? Send them to newsquestions@ap.org.

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